Learn to Grow

To many, Earth Day is just something extra written at the bottom of the calendar. However, for others, such as members of the ECO Club, it is a wonderful day to both appreciate the wonders of our planet as well as to raise awareness for issues that Earth faces every day. To celebrate Earth Day this year, ECO Club, sponsored by Mr. Sverkounos, hosted an assembly showcasing all that they have been doing throughout the year. Some of the items that showed up on their list of achievements were projects like canal cleanups and Miami Country Day School’s participation in the Fairchild Tropical Challenge. One, however, was an inaugural showcase of terrariums created by ECO Club members and non-members alike. This unique demonstration was briefly shown in the Franco Center lobby under the title, “Learn to Grow”. Creative projects like these terrariums are what the ECO Club hopes to bring to the table in the future.

Andrea Jensen, a junior and ECO Club member, was one of the genius minds behind the “Learn to Grow” exhibit. She and Francess Dunbar, also a junior, were looking at terrariums. They realized that their idea was more than an idle internet search during their free time. Andrea said that she “really wanted to bring the concept of terrariums to Miami Country Day School and show everyone some very exotic habitats that are unfortunately being destroyed as we speak. I thought that it was a great idea to bring the idea to Mr. Sverkounos’ attention because it was something that seemed to fit in really well with what ECO Club was about.”

Creating the terrariums was something that brought MCDS students together, even if in a small way. Students from all grades and personal passions brought in materials such as soil, plants, sand, gravel, and even small plastic animals to put in the terrariums. Even more unifying was the participation in creating the terrariums themselves. Both students that were part of the club and those who weren’t spent several days after school creating their own, personal terrariums featuring a specific habitat. Macenna Cowen, a junior and a member of ECO club thought that the project was “was very fun and helped me learn about different ecosystems and how they work. It’s important to understand them because the environment is what we need to survive and without it we wouldn’t be able to exist.” Just like everyone on this planet is connected by the earth we walk on, this project was a truly collaborative effort.

As time has gone by after the first Earth Day in 1970, people have begun to forget about the significant part that Earth plays in our daily lives as well as how strongly and quickly human beings can affect the planet, often more negatively than the opposite. The Earth Day presentation was meant to commend students who have worked hard all year on entries into the Fairchild Tropical Challenge, such as Aminah Austin who obtained awards in categories ranging from tee shirt design to full art pieces. Some of these students are now eligible to be part of the global competition due to their preliminary participation. The assembly was also meant tell the history of Earth Day and to bring light to issues that need to be fixed and worked upon, such as recycling and littering.

Some might say that the extra time it takes to make mindful decisions to regarding the planet is not worth it. However they are not considering how important taking care of the planet is when put into the perspective of our daily routines. “Many people take an extra second in the morning to put makeup on or make sure that their hair is just right,” Andrea says, “it doesn’t take much longer than that to put something into the correct recycling bin or to pick up a stray piece of garbage. It doesn’t take very long to make a difference and it is easy to make it part of a daily routine.”

Terrariums and awareness assemblies are just the beginning for ECO Club. They have many new and creative things in store for next year. There will be much more fundraising focused on donating to charities involved in making the world a better place. Planning a fall harvest festival is also in the works, featuring an array of local farmers and markets. It will even have a pumpkin carving competition with all proceeds from the festival going to support said local charities. The sky’s the limit when it comes to making a difference, and with what clubs at MCDS are doing for the environment, air pollution won’t get in the way anymore in time for next year’s Earth Day.